Adding Structure to Help a Terrier Mix Behave Better at Home and on Walks

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 27, 2017

Winston is a six-year-old Terrier mix who lives in Long Beach. His guardians set up this dog behavior training session with us to stop him from being an excited dog, behave on walks, drop things on command and listen better to one of his guardians.

After chatting with Winston’s guardians about his daly routine, I learned that he had started acting up once one of his guardians was on the road. Probing deeper, I found out Winston didn’t have many rules to follow and was able to tell his guardians what to do. This lack of structure caused Winston to think that he needed to protect his female guardian by acting out to people on walks or when they passed his home.

I showed the guardians a number of ways to help Winston start to identify as a follower. This leadership transition will need to take place before Winston gives up many of these unwanted behaviors for good. Petting with a purpose, passive training and consistently disagreeing with unwanted actions and behaviors via the escalating consequences I shared with them will all help with the needed dog behavior modification.

As a dog behavior expert, I find many people are actually the cause of many of their unwanted dog behavior problems. A great example of this is getting a dog over excited before heading out on a walk by asking if they are ready to go in an excited voice.

Simply omitting the narration “ready to go for a walk” during the leashing up process usually has a big impact on how the walk goes. The energy a dog has before it leaves the house is usually the energy level they will have on the walk itself.

I shared a number of leash training secrets and dog training tips with Winston’s guardians and then showed them how to teach the dog to behave how they wanted throughout the entire process. This is something most dog guardians fail to do.

After spending several minutes discussing how to get the dog to behave on a walk, I had his guardian repeat the leashing up process. You can watch how he did in the video below.

While we didn’t achieve a full result, Winston was so much calmer his guardians were impressed. If To test things out, I fitted Winston up with a Martingale collar and we all headed out to do some loose leash training.

As a dog behaviorist, I always enjoy hearing how much better a dog’s behavior is while we are still in the session. Today was no exception. Winston’s female guardian was even able to walk him past another dog with zero reaction from the Terrier. Prior to this dog behavior session, his guardian reported he would be barking, growling and lunging at the other dog when it was several feet away. But today, he didn’t even bat an eye.

By the end of the session, Winston was noticeable calmer and more centered. He was already following many of the new rules, looking towards his guardians for leadership and didn’t make a sound when three different people passed by his home as we filmed the roadmap to success video below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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